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Sandy Denny - North Star Grassman and The Ravens

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    ITEM#: 13603023

    Personnel: Sandy Denny (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano); Richard Thompson (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, accordion); Trevor Lucas (acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars, background vocals); Jerry Donahue (electric guitar); Buddy Emmons (pedal steel guitar); Barry Dransfield (violin, background vocals); Ian Whiteman (piano, flute organ); Pat Donaldson (bass); Gerry Conway, Roger Powell (drums); Royston Woods, Robin Dransfield (background vocals). Engineers: Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, John Wood. Recorded at Sound Techniques, Basing Street and Air Studios, London, England in May 1971. Recording information: "In Concert", Paris Theatre, Broadcast (03/16/1972); BBC 'In Concert', Paris Theatre (03/16/1972); BBC Session, 'Bob Harris' (03/16/1972); BBC Session, 'Sounds on Sunday' (03/16/1972); "In Concert", Paris Theatre, Broadcast (03/25/1972); BBC 'In Concert', Paris Theatre (03/25/1972); BBC Session, 'Bob Harris' (03/25/1972); BBC Session, 'Sounds on Sunday' (03/25/1972); "In Concert", Paris Theatre, Broadcast (08/1972/11/1972); BBC 'In Concert', Paris Theatre (08/1972/11/1972); BBC Session, 'Bob Harris' (08/1972/11/1972); BBC Session, 'Sounds on Sunday' (08/1972/11/1972); "In Concert", Paris Theatre, Broadcast (08/24/1971); BBC 'In Concert', Paris Theatre (08/24/1971); BBC Session, 'Bob Harris' (08/24/1971); BBC Session, 'Sounds on Sunday' (08/24/1971). Photographer: Keef. One could argue Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention at just the right time -- her final album with the group, 1969's Liege & Lief, was both a masterpiece and a millstone, a brilliant work they would never top -- but her instincts were not as keen in terms of launching her solo career. Denny not unreasonably wanted a showcase for her own songwriting, but after leaving Fairport she opted to join Fotheringay, a talented folk-rock band but one that was neither as interesting nor as visionary as Fairport. Fotheringay splintered during the recording of their second LP, and Denny seemed to still be finding her footing as she set out to make her first solo album. The North Star Grassman and the Ravens was co-produced by Denny, fellow Fairport alumnus Richard Thompson and John Wood, and the interplay between Denny's vocals and Thompson's understated but striking lead guitar work is one of the best things about the record. With a gifted crew of U.K. folk-rockers backing her up, the sessions confirmed that Denny was still one of the most gifted and thoughtful vocalists to emerge from the British folk community, and she was also a talent to be reckoned with as a songwriter: "John the Gun," "Late November," and the title tune are only a little short of brilliant. But as good as the original songs were, and as compelling as Denny's vocals may have been, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens feels tentative and uneven. While Denny had the strength to do rock-oriented material, the covers of Bob Dylan's "Down in the Flood" and Brenda Lee's "Let's Jump the Broomstick" sound sloppy and meandering, and as sympathetic and expert as the production may be, the deference to Denny's vocals leaves the music a bit pale in comparison, while most of the tracks lack the personality they deserve. By any standards, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens is a fine album full of great songs and inspired vocal performances, but considering the excellence of Denny's music in Fairport Convention, it was a genuine disappointment, and seems pale in comparison to her next two solo efforts, Sandy and Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz. [In 2011, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens was reissued in a deluxe two-disc edition, and it's a genuine improvement on the original. Disc one features a remastered version of the original 11-song album along with four bonus tracks, but disc two is where the greatest treasures lie, leading off with five unreleased demos and following with seven live performances from the BBC archives. On most of these tracks, Denny performs solo, accompanying herself on gui


    UPC 600753340585
    Runtime 105 min.
    Type Performer
    Genre Rock & Pop
    Sub Genre British Folk Rock
    Label Hip-O Records
    Producer John Wood; Richard Thompson; Sandy Denny
    Number of Discs 2
    Track Listing Disc 1
    • 1. Late November
    • 2. Blackwaterside
    • 3. Sea Captain, The
    • 4. Down in the Flood
    • 5. John the Gun
    • 6. Next Time Around
    • 7. Optimist, The
    • 8. Let's Jump the Broomstick
    • 9. Wretched Wilbur
    • 10. North Star Grassman and the Ravens, The
    • 11. Crazy Lady Blues
    • 12. Next Time Around [Demo]
    • 13. Walking the Floor Over You
    • 14. Lord Bateman [Instrumental] - (previously unreleased)
    • 15. If You Saw Thru My Eyes
    Disc 2
    • 1. Sea Captain [Demo], The
    • 2. Optimist [Demo], The
    • 3. Wretched Wilbur [Demo]
    • 4. Crazy Lady Blues [Demo]
    • 5. Lord Bateman
    • 6. Late November [BBC Session] - (live)
    • 7. Lowlands of Holland [BBC Session], The - (live)
    • 8. Blackwaterside [BBC Session] - (live)
    • 9. North Star Grassman and the Ravens [BBC Session], The - (live)
    • 10. Bruton Town [BBC Session] - (live)
    • 11. Next Time Around [BBC Session] - (live)
    • 12. John the Gun [BBC Session] - (live)
    Format Compact Disc
    Spars Coding n/a
    Artists Denny, Sandy
    Dimensions 6.0x4.0x0.5
    Country of Origin United States

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    This product is not yet released, and is expected to ship on Sep. 20, 2011.

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